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Published: January 8th 2017
Hello dear readers. It’s that time again.
First, let me bring you up to date. This 2017 Snowbird trip will be an abbreviated version of my usual 10-11 weeks. In the spring, a group of camping friends will be traveling up the center of the country on a caravan we are calling “The Quest for the Stamp”. We will be visiting the lesser known National Parks in the middle of the country to gain the treasured National Park Passport Stamp. We are meeting in Natchez, MS, on April 20 and will end around Memorial Day in Shanksville, PA (The site of the 911 plane crash ‘in the field’). We will be visiting places some have not been to (Tupelo, Graceland, Hot Springs, Branson, Hannibal) and adding some states to our RV maps and seeing the middle of our country. I did not want to be away in FL for 2 – 3 months, come home for a short time then head out again for another long trip. This winter trip will get me home around 2/13. Just enough time to see all my FL friends and favorite places and hopefully be warmer than it is now.
This trip really starts with the end of my Christmas trip to NJ. I arrived home January 2 after 600 miles in 9.5 hours, blasting thru both Baltimore and Washington. It rained most of the way, so I kept the speed down to a dull roar. The only time I slowed down was for an accident on I95 in NC.
My plans were to leave Sunday 1/8. The week was filled with putting Christmas decorations away, MD appointments, dog grooming, haircut, volunteering at my theatres, movies with friends, laundry, manicure, etc., etc. All the time I kept watch on the weather.
Complicating matters was me forgetting to bring a prescription bottle to NJ with me…..It’s for my special prescription for Limbrel, plant extract medical food that relieves arthritic pain and can be taken by patients on blood thinners…like me. It is not a pharmaceutical. I can only get it from the company that manufactures it. I was unable to order it while in NJ. They have a special number I must call for refills and it’s only on the bottle - not on their website. So, I ordered it when I got home on Monday, but that was a holiday, and it didn’t get picked up until Tuesday, but it did get shipped that day! I called and asked. I called again Friday morning, only coming from Philadelphia, it should arrive Friday, and was told it was scheduled for Friday delivery. No such luck. No pills. This complicated departure. I didn’t want to wait for the mail which might not arrive until 4. So, Wonderful son Tim offered to mail it to my mid week campground after it arrived. Neighbor Marion picks up my mail, and she watched for it today and let Tim know it arrived - at noon or earlier. Growl.
I decided to take Moya out of storage early, as I did not winterize her. It would delay my trip if the temperature really goes sub-zero and the pipes freeze. Keeping it in my driveway would allow me to turn on the heater and keep the pipes warm. Son Tim dropped me off at storage and I filled up with gas at Costco and headed home. My house keys were no where to be found. They were not in my car; the car won’t lock with the keys in it. They were not in my handbag nor in Moya. The garage door key pad did not work, battery must be dead. My neighbor Marion with the spare set of keys was not home. I called Tim and he did a drive-by using his remote to open the garage door. Humiliation. My kids think I am losing it.
While at Costco getting gas, the man behind me told me my registration was expired. WTF? Can’t be, but sure enough, the 03-17 sticker was not on the license plate. I looked at the registration, and, sure enough, it expires 3/17. Where did the sticker go? Did someone steal it while in storage?? Panic. 11:00 on Friday, how am I going to get this fixed. I cancelled my lunch with Debrajean and headed for DMV. I was Number 97, they were on 84. Not too bad. Just enough time to read all unread email and my number was called. Easy enough to do $25, slam bang thank you ma’m. Only one thing. They don’t take credit cards. I didn’t bring my check book. I had $24.15 in my wallet. Fortunately they have an ATM in the DMV, so for $3.50 fee I was able to get the needed $25. Growl.
Still no house keys. I know I had them as I moved the car out of the garage early in the morning……they had to be somewhere, fortunately I have another key fob, and the car has a garage door opener.
I did a check of the RV, seeing what I needed to pack. I left her pretty well stocked after my birthday trip with the kids to Williamsburg, lots of shorts and Tshirts and socks etc. I just needed winter clothes, toiletries, food. I took my time loading up Friday evening. Then I really paid attention to the weather.
Reports were all over the place. Anywhere from nothing, to freezing rain, to 2-5 inches of snow. Freezing rain or snow would cripple Wilmington. The extremely low temperature could freeze the pipes. Time to get out of dodge.
I was very tired Friday night, went to bed very early and was up at the crack of dawn today. Wonderful son Tim came over, installed the new CO detector, and carried out some heavy loads. I was ready to leave by 10. Where the frak were the RV keys. Another search all over everywhere, and finally found them in the pocket of the sweatshirt I wore to finish loading the RV up. I hate being old. Before you wonder, I do have a key hidden outside the RV that will unlock the door, and an extra set of keys hanging in the bathroom.
My plans were to head south, maybe making it as far as Huntington Beach SP, south of Myrtle Beach. I figured staying along the coast would keep the temperature warmer than driving west to I95. Temperature when I left home was 35 and the rain had stopped. Oddly, the further south I travelled, the colder it got. My average speed was 42 mph. I was one of only a few cars on the road. Just as I hit North Myrtle Beach, the temperature dropped to 29 and the wind came howling up. I could see ice starting to form on the lower part of my windshield. I drove very slowly the last 5 miles to Myrtle Beach Travel Park and got a site for one night. $46. Much more than I like to spend, but this is a great campground. Free excellent wifi (I am streaming Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle” Season 2) on my ipad, and have no problem being on the internet with this Dell laptop.
I put on my heavy ABC Wide World of Sports jacket (thanks Maureen Kelly), heavy hat, wool gloves, lined crocs and took Winston for a walk around the loop. We went to look at the ocean, but it was very cold and windy, so we kept walking. There are signs of dune replenishment here, I suspect they had some damage from the Hurricane. There are all new stair over the newly reconstructed dunes.
For lunch I heated very excellent Harris Teeter Lobster Bisque and spent some time putting away the thing I just threw on to my bed. There are lot of RVs here, but I have not seen too many people.
I am writing this at 8:00 pm. Winston begged me to go out, I got a quick pee, and all he really wanted was a cookie treat. Thermometer says 35 degrees, the wind has decreased but not stopped. I am juggling heaters. I have 2 electric space heaters, neither of which work really well when it I this cold. I have resorted to using the propane furnace, which keeps us nice and toasty. It is going to be an early night to bed under my electric blanket.
Weather tomorrow is sunny and cold. If my water pipes don’t freeze and if the water has not frozen my compartment doors shut, and if my slide is not frozen in the out position, and if my leveling jacks are not stuck frozen into the ground, I will check the weather and head further south. My first real reservation is Wednesday in Eustis, Florida, at a campout with the MidLow chapter of Loner’s on Wheels. I’ll be there until Sunday. I want to find some warm weather, so I will drive tomorrow and hope to get to southern Georgia. I can check into the MidLows campground early, I will just need to check with them.
So, I don’t know how often I will write, hopefully lots of fun stuff will happen along the way that will be interesting to read and write about.
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